Sony has had a rough couple of years when it comes to walking the line between confidence and arrogance. Sometimes that confidence is necessary to convince consumers to possibly take a chance on new technology, but sometimes that same attitude can be viewed as arrogance. Perhaps it is an unfair image, but recently Sony has be branded with the label of arrogant, and the company is now doing everything it can to reject that mantle, including pointing out other companies that it feels are far more deserving of the crown.
One of the most obvious examples of Sony’s perceived arrogance can be found in the handling of the PlayStaion 3 and the PSP. Maybe it began with the PS3’s pricing, or maybe it was the ads that pushed the technology ahead of the fun-factor. Perhaps it was Sony Computer Entertainment’s CEO Ken Kuaragi saying things like “[PS3 is] for consumers to think to themselves ‘I will work more hours to buy one’. We want people to feel that they want it, irrespective of anything else.” And that is just one of his greatest hits, that also includes the classic, “Beating us for a short moment is like accidentally winning a point from a Shihan (Karate master), and Microsoft is still not a black belt. Just like with their operating systems, they might come out with something good around the third generation of their release.”
Over the last few years, Sony has been attempting to change that image of arrogance through a well designed strategy, beginning with a series of ads designed to poke fun at itself thanks to the fictional Sony VP Kevin Butler (who even has his own Facebook page). It is part of a concerted effort to help Sony shake the “arrogant” tag, and some, including SCE’s Australian managing director Michael Ephraim, believe that Sony is no longer an arrogant company. That mantle now falls to Apple.
“I don’t think we [Sony] are arrogant anymore”, Ephraim told the Brisbane Times in an interview, “I think we can name a company that is a fruit that is in the news a lot about their arrogance, I think they have taken the mantle from us, if we were ever arrogant!”
It is fairly easy to guess which fruit-named company that has recently been in the news that Ephraim is talking about. Arrogant or not, Apple seems to be doing well with their current mentality, so it is unlikely they will change their strategy. But for Sony, the shift has been noticeable, and the results are beginning to show.
The images presented of the company through advertising has changed, the price of the PS3 has dropped significantly, and the PS3 is finally making money on each unit sold after years of selling at a loss. The arrogance of yesterday seems to be being replaced by the hunger for tomorrow.
“I don’t think we were arrogant. We know there are a lot of challenges in this space, but we’re very comfortable, especially with 3D across the entire Sony group,” Ephraim said. “There’s no company that can deliver that like we can,” Then again…